Samsung on Thursday announced plans to release an upgraded version of its smart trackers Galaxy SmartTag, aptly named SmartTag +, worldwide on April 16 with a US release expected sometime “in the coming weeks”.
These smart trackers attach to your keys, wallet, or whatever you frequently confuse to help you find them through an app. The design was first popularized by Tile a few years ago and while the rumors are long circulates for Apple, developing a similar device called Apple AirTag, Samsung beat them to the blow with the announcement of its Galaxy SmartTag, powered by Bluetooth, in January. At the time, Samsung was annoyed that a version powered by ultra-wideband technology, one of the latest fashion words in consumer technology, may be on the horizon. And now we finally have a release date.
On Samsung press release, SmartTag + will offer support for both UWB and Bluetooth Low Energy, a variant of traditional Bluetooth that does not consume as much battery power and is already included in the original SmartTag. SmartTag + is slightly more expensive than its predecessor at $ 39.99 compared to the price of SmartTag at $ 29.99.
In addition to the possibility of more accurate determination your lost items, the enhanced spatial awareness functionality provided by SmartTag + UWB technology means that it can use augmented reality to visually direct users to lost tokens using their smartphone’s camera if they have a smartphone equipped with UWB. You can also choose to make the tracker sound with a ring as you approach its location, or make other users join your search with a feature similar to Community Finding Network announced the upcoming UWB-powered tracker. Your location data remains protected, Samsung said Thursday
“All data in SmartThings Find is encrypted and secure, so the location of the tag is not revealed to anyone but you.”
You can see an example of how AR function for SmartTag + works in the chart below. (This thing reminds me of that Toy Story where Mrs. Potato’s head loses an eye under the sofa, but because it is movable and what not, she can still see through it).
Like Bluetooth, UWB technology allows devices within range to talk to each other, but what sets it apart is its superior ability to pinpoint locations and transmit data with minimal interference. It does this by transmitting data on a wider frequency than narrowband wireless technology, the disadvantage being that it suffers from a shorter overall range. The technology has has existed for decades, but only recently have UWB chips become cheap and small enough for companies to justify charging them into smartphones and other consumer gadgets.
This year is set to be great for UWB with both Tile and Apple is reported to be working on UWB-powered trackers.